Monday, November 29, 2010


I know that frost is pretty much a daily occurrence at this point, but when I went up to the garden this morning, the intricate crystal patterns on the foliage of the kale and various hardy greens were just so pretty! I had to run back to the house to grab my camera and I thought I'd share some of the results with you!

Even the mini hoop houses and floating row covers are covered in a thick layer of frost. Yet, a simple barrier can provide enough protection to extend the season for so many types of hardy veggies. When I was working in the garden yesterday afternoon, the surface of the soil was frozen and covered in ice crystals. Yet, when i lifted a lightweight row cover from the top of our curly parsley, the ground beneath was soft and the parley was ready to pick (and incredibly sweet!) - amazing what a simple cover can do!

It always surprises me how hardy some of the garden veggies really are! The tatsoi, kale, winter lettuces, mache, Italian parsley, thyme, swiss chard, leeks and collards are still completely uncovered.. and ready to pick once they've thawed in mid-morning! The hubby is particularly enamoured with the kale - his brother too! Whenever the brother-in-law comes to visit, he and the hubby head up to the garden to eat the kale (and mizuna, arugula and mustard) directly from the garden.. It's an instant salad! I think I'll have to start calling them 'the grazers'..

On a side note.. a few months ago, I saw these cool 'snap clamps' on a US website.. they're simply small lengths of PVC that have a piece cut out. When 'snapped' onto the ribs of a mini hoop tunnel, they securely lock the poly covering into place.. since I couldn't find them locally, I thought that perhaps we could make our own.. The ribs of our tunnels are simply 1/2-inch PVC conduit.. so, we bought 3/4-inch PVC conduit and cut them into about 1-inch wide sections.. then, the hubby used a saw and cut a piece out of the small length of pipe.. Voila! I now have about 30 snap clamps - with about 30 min of work (mostly his)! I took them up to the garden yesterday and they worked great.. I haven't secured the ends of the tunnels yet, but I will in the next day or so. Once our daytime temp's average about 3 to 4 degrees C, I know it's time to lockdown the mini hoop tunnels.. When we want to harvest, I can unsnap a side clamp, lift the cover and harvest.. ain't life grand?

Happy Gardening!


  1. Thats a great tip on those clamps! I have a bandsaw that could carve those up in a jiffy!

  2. watch your fingers! :)

    we tried a few different saws, but found that a handsaw worked best.. we also made a few of our clamps about 3 inches long and those worked well too.. i like the smaller size though for quick on and off..

  3. Great idea Niki....and the frost looks beautiful on the greens. Next year I will work a little harder at seeding earlier to have more winter greens now.


Please feel free to leave comments. I welcome your tips, questions, thoughts and ideas (and suggestions for new veggies to grow!)